Authors: John Locke
Callie’s Last Dance
(a Donovan Creed Novel – Volume 10)
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.
CALLIE’S LAST DANCE
Copyright © 2012
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the author or publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Cover Designed by: Telemachus Press, LLC
Copyright © Thinkstock/Hemera/100893947
Copyright © Thinkstock/iStockPhoto/115348005
Visit the author’s website:
Published by: Telemachus Press, LLC
ISBN: 978-1-938135-61-3 (eBook)
ISBN: 978-1-938135-62-0 (EPUB)
ISBN: 978-1-938135-63-7 (Paperback)
Personal Message from John Locke:
I love writing books! But what I love even more is hearing from readers. If you enjoyed this or any of my other books, it would mean the world to me if you’d send a short email to introduce yourself and say hi. I always personally respond to my readers.
I would also love to put you on my mailing list to receive notifications about future books, updates, and contests.
click this link and introduce yourself
, so I can personally thank you for trying my books.
NY TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR!
8th MEMBER of the KINDLE MILLION SALES CLUB!
(Other members: Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts,
Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly)
First self-published author to hit #1 on Amazon/Kindle!
First self-published author to hit Kindle Million Sales Club!
Sold 1,100,000 eBooks in 5 months through word of mouth!
Wrote and published 6 best-selling books in 3 separate genres in 6 months!
Had 4 of the top 10 eBooks on Amazon/Kindle at the same time, including #1 and #2!
Had 6 of the top 20, and 8 books in the top 43 at the same time!
John Locke has written 15 books in three years, all best-sellers!
New York Times Best Selling Author
#1 Best Selling Author on Amazon Kindle
Donovan Creed Series:
Emmett Love Series:
Dani Ripper Series:
Dr. Gideon Box Series:
CALLIE’S LAST DANCE
RIDLEY’S WIFE, CONNIE, doesn’t cheat very often, but when she does it’s going to take place in room 316 at the Winston Parke Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
Three-sixteen, because it’s her lucky number.
Her date of birth.
Ridley knows this, he’s followed her there several times.
While he strongly disapproves of Connie’s extra-marital affair, the guy she’s fucking is Tom Bell, the number two ranked mixed martial artist in the world. Ridley’s no wimp, but Bell could kick Ridley’s ass with one hand while fingering Connie with the other.
Which is why Ridley plans to kill them from a distance.
Ridley may not know martial arts, but as a commercial builder he knows a thing or two about concrete. For example, he knows concrete floors in modern hotels are usually eight inches thick and pre-stressed, while seventy-year-old floors, like those in the Winston Parke, are only four inches thick and composed of light-weight concrete.
Ridley also knows hand guns. He’s collected them all his life. For example, he knows his Nitro Zeliska is the largest, most-powerful handgun in the world. Knows it fires a 900-grain, .600 round at 1,950 feet per second while producing a whopping 7,591 foot pounds of muzzle energy. He knows it set him back nearly twenty grand, plus forty bucks a bullet.
The Winston Parke lobby has a café on one side, a bank of glass elevators on the other. Ridley’s sitting in the café, sipping his coffee, watching Connie and Tom Bell take an elevator to the third floor.
For Ridley, it’s come full-circle.
He’s the one who introduced Connie to room 316 years ago, when she was in design school. He’s the one who wined, dined, and married her, the one who adored her, took care of her, and introduced her to society. He’s the one who gave her the life of luxury, funded her home decorating business, showered her with gifts, took her places she’d never been…
And this is how she pays him back.
Ridley stares at his coffee, trying to forget what he saw.
Tom, patting his wife’s ass.
Connie, showing Tom the bedroom smile Ridley used to get.
What kind of wife would do him this way?
He knows the answer.
A younger one.
What it all comes down to, the younger wives want a guy on the side. You shower them with love, bring them all the way up the ladder of success, and get what in return?
No. What you get is attitude. After a few years of fucking you, they want to fuck what you’re not.
Ridley’s got it figured out. He’d say if you want to predict who your wife’s gonna fuck, look for the guy who’s nothing like you. If you’re handsome, they’ll fuck ugly. If you’re ugly, they’ll fuck handsome. If you’re rich, they’ll fuck poor. If you’re poor, they’ll fuck rich.
They just won’t fuck you.
And these younger wives are cocky.
Well, today it ends.
Ridley’s gun is waiting for him in room 216.
He finishes his coffee, rides the elevator to the second floor, enters his room. He removes the gun from its case.
Zeliska revolvers are twenty-two inches long and weigh thirteen pounds. The weight helps control the recoil.
Ridley dons his eye protectors, inserts his custom ear plugs, loads five rounds into the cylinder. He lies on his back on the bed, centers himself, and looks up at the ceiling, thinking,
my wife’s twelve feet above me, fucking Tom Bell
He imagines Connie moaning with pleasure. Giving Tom oral. Allowing him free reign over every inch of her body.
She barely knows the guy!
Is she really capable of doing things to him she won’t do for the man who loves her?
Of course she is.
That’s how it works.
When they spread their legs for another man, they go all the way.
Ridley lifts his gun, extends his arms, locks them. The barrel’s eight feet from Connie’s back, if she’s on the bottom, or Connie’s front, if Tom’s doing her face down. Or eight feet from Tom’s back, if Connie’s on top.
He cocks the gun anticipating what could happen. First, the bullet will send fragments of concrete in all directions, and cover him with concrete dust. No problem. People in the lobby might remember seeing a guy covered in dust later on, but they won’t associate him with being the shooter. Second, due to freak luck, the bullet might ricochet into Ridley, and kill him instantly. That would be unlikely, but Ridley’s prepared to die. If he doesn’t make a clean getaway he’ll be in prison the rest of his life, and he’d rather be dead than in prison. Third, the first shot might not make it all the way to the target, so he intends to pump all five rounds into the ceiling, shooting each successive shot into the hole made by the first bullet. With any luck at all, the first shot will kill whoever’s on the bottom, the rest will kill whoever’s on top.
Ridley takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly, then pulls the trigger.
In this enclosed area, even with his ear plugs firmly in place, the gunshot sounds like a bomb detonating. The concrete above him explodes in a cloud of smoke. Sharp pieces of plaster and concrete nick his body, and would have shredded his eyes, but for the safety goggles. The recoil nearly caused him to lose his grip. The gun gas makes him retch.
He can’t see the hole his first bullet made, but makes an educated guess and fires again. This time the recoil is so fierce, Ridley’s arms can’t prevent the gun from shattering his face. As he cries out in pain, a two-foot slab of concrete disengages from the ceiling, hangs precariously for a split second, then falls seven feet onto Ridley’s exposed neck, killing him instantly.
Cincinnati, Four Days Earlier…
“THEY’RE PLAYING MUSIC!” Callie says, with a burst of sudden enthusiasm. “You think Sal set up a dance floor?”
“I hope not,” I say.
It’s mid-morning, fourth of July. The sun’s bright, but not yet hot. We’re crossing a perfectly-manicured lawn, heading toward the main tent to greet our host, crime boss Sal Bonadello.
“Don’t be a spoil sport, Donovan!”
“Spoil sport? What does that even mean?”
“It means if they play our song I expect a dance.”
Here’s something you don’t know about me. I’m a terrible dancer. I mean, I know enough ballroom dancing to get laid. But when the music’s fast and I’m dancing freestyle I look like Quasimodo trying to put on a suit.
“We don’t have a song,” I say.
“Are you insane? Of course we do!”
“You’ll know it when you hear it.”
I laugh. “So you don’t know, either.”
“Every couple has a song, Donovan. We just haven’t heard ours yet.”
“Wait. Did you just call us a couple?”
Callie sighs. “Does this make sense to you?”
“In all these years we’ve never shared a dance.”
“That can’t be true. Perhaps you’ve forgotten.”
“Trust me, I’d remember. I love dancing. But you avoid it like Superman avoids kryptonite.”
She’s right, of course. And her kryptonite analogy’s a good one.
Callie and I have worked together eight years. We’re assassins. She’s the only person on earth I trust not to kill me, and that’s only on good days. But we haven’t danced because, overlooking the fact I look stupid while doing it, dance floors are high-risk locations. You’re moving around, people around you are moving, you can’t keep track. Is the guy in the blue suit wielding a knife? Is the older lady palming a derringer? Maybe the lady with the gun isn’t on the dance floor. Maybe she’s a guy dressed like an old lady, sitting at a table across the room holding a purse that contains a gun with a silencer. When she shoots, the small sound gets drowned out by the music. Maybe she’s watching me dance, waiting for the perfect time to squeeze off a shot. She puts her hand in her purse, grips her gun, gives the signal. On the dance floor, a pretty redhead nods, then purposely backs into me, knocks me off balance. The older lady shoots, kills me, and waltzes out the room.
Dancing’s a bitch for those in our business.
But try telling that to Callie.
That said, I have great appreciation for the aesthetic beauty and athletic grace displayed by certain professional dancers with finely-honed skills.
“I love to watch highly-skilled professional dancers,” I say, cheerfully.
She frowns. “Stripping doesn’t count.”
“Of course it does!”
“Then why do they call it lap
Callie shakes her head, dismissively. “You’re hopeless.”
I stop us in our tracks and say, “Some of the best dancers in the world are strippers. Name one person who can dance better than Gwen.”
Gwen being Callie’s live-in girlfriend.
“Me,” she says.
I smile. “Ever thought about stripping?”
“Here’s the bottom line,” she says. “We’re dancing today, you and me.”
they have a dance floor.”
Sal owns the hundred-acre field that runs behind his house. The main tent is still more than fifty yards away. As we crest a small hill we see musicians playing blue grass music.
On a stage.
We see something else.
Callie smiles, points to the dance floor.
“You’ll dance with me, won’t you?” she says.
“Only if my life depends on it.”
“I’ll need fortification,” I say.
“Of course you will.”
This means Callie, frozen vodka cranberry. Me, shot of bourbon, straight up.
As we continue our journey toward the tent, people stop what they’re doing to stare. Callie’s wearing a raspberry floral-print cocktail dress and matching wedge sandals with bangle straps.
But that’s not why they’re staring.
They’re staring at the work of art that is Callie Carpenter.
There are two types of people in the world: those who’ve seen Callie in person, and those who want to.
How pretty is she?
Astonishingly pretty. Unnaturally pretty.
Who does she
You’re joking, right?
You don’t compare Callie to others. Others compare themselves to
And come up short.
I could tell you her hair’s naturally blonde and her eyes piercing gray. I could tell you super models and starlets would kill to have her face
body, and she’s got both. I could tell you her scent is better after a workout than a shower, and her breath cleaner than ionic meadow air after a lightning storm.
I could tell you all those things and more.
But nothing prepares you for seeing Callie the first time.
Unless you were a sailor in a former life whose vessel was attacked by Blackbeard the pirate.
Before attacking ships, Blackbeard used to tie dozens of strips of cloth to his beard and set them on fire. So disarming was his appearance, enemy sailors often threw their guns and swords down in terror, and dropped to their knees, making no effort to defend themselves.
Callie’s looks are likewise lethal. I’ve seen her take down skilled assassins who were so stunned by her beauty they hesitated to pull the trigger. Their split-second pause allowed Callie just enough time to squeeze off a kill shot.
Not that it mattered. She could have easily killed these men and women with her hands, feet, or by hurling a deadly projectile, because it’s not just her looks that make Callie superhuman. She’s one of the most efficient killing machines on earth.
What’s that? Oh. She’s twenty-six.
Like I said, I’ve known her eight years.
Ha. I wish.
Truth is, I’ve never even seen her naked. Never kissed her, for that matter.
I’ve traveled with her, dined with her, lived with her for weeks at a time.
I’ve killed with her.
We’ve saved each other’s lives, shared stories, toothbrushes, even the same woman, Gwen Peters.
It’s not what you think.
We didn’t have a threesome. Gwen and I met first, and had sex. Then Callie met Gwen, and they had sex. Gwen moved in with Callie, and they kept having sex, but one day Gwen and I had sex again. When Callie found out, she nearly killed Gwen, but decided to give her another chance.
I’m pretty sure Gwen and I won’t be sleeping together in the foreseeable future. She appears to place a higher value on living than having sex with me.
Hard to believe, right?
So I’m out of the picture, and that’s fine, since I recently discovered I’ve fallen in love with one of my employees.
No, I haven’t told her. I wouldn’t know how. She’s completely oblivious to my feelings.
Beautiful women are clustered around us, staring at Callie. They’re the girlfriends of ugly mobster men, hardened criminals who are afraid to make eye contact with me.
I make them nervous.
I’m the guy who killed their mob friends.
Frankie De Luca waves as I pass by. He’s here with his wife, Angie. The De Lucas don’t know it yet, but this is their last day to live. That’s because Sal hired me to kill Angie tonight. Sal doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to snuff Frankie too. Sal won’t approve, because Frankie’s a huge earner, but Sal’s my friend. He’s too close to the situation to understand, but it’s in his best interest for Frankie to go away too.
As we close in on the tent, two young women emerge, laughing. They glance in our direction and stop short.
We stop, too.
The four of us are twenty feet apart, staring at each other.
“She’s looking at you, pretty boy,” Callie murmurs.
“The blonde. Recognize her?”
“Standing with her girlfriend, Sophie Alexander.”
“Sal’s niece,” I say.
“Sophie’s pretty,” Callie says.
“But Dani’s gorgeous, don’t you think?”
“Not compared to you.”
“Seriously, Donovan? Because people say she could pass for my sister.”
“Not your twin sister.”
Callie gives me a funny look, then says, “Why are they staring at us?”
“The same reason we’re staring at them.”
“We’re sizing each other up?”
I nod. “Think we can take ’em?”
Callie laughs, which causes Dani and Sophie to laugh.
Dani waves and hollers, “Hi, ya’ll!”
“Ya’ll?” I say.
Callie smiles, waves back, and whispers, “I know what I want for my birthday!”
“In the flesh.”
“Odd way to put it.”
“That’s how we talk, here in the south.”
“Ah. You’re a southern belle now?”
“I am if she is…ya’ll!”
We watch them turn and walk away.
And keep watching them.
“Nice ass,” Callie says, under her breath.
She grins like a politician at a fundraiser.
I say, “Women actually talk like that?”
“Oh please,” she says. “Don’t you agree? Nice ass?”
“I don’t check out women’s posteriors,” I say. “It’s rude.”
She groans and rolls her eyes. “You are so full of shit!”
“Think they’ll turn around?” I say.
“I guarantee it.”
We watch Dani’s hips sway hypnotically as she walks.
Sophie turns first, sees us staring, and laughs. She says something to Dani. A few steps later they stop and Dani sneaks a peek. They laugh again.
Callie says, “I want her, Donovan.”
“I saw her first.”
“Doesn’t matter. I saw Gwen first, but she’s with you.”
“Tell you what,” Callie says. “You can have Sophie.”
“Any other day, I’d be proud to have Sophie. Though I doubt Sal would approve.”
“Nothing wrong with Sophie,” Callie says. “Solid eight, wouldn’t you say?”
“Dani, on the other hand…”
I ask, “Have you ever been with a woman as hot as Dani Ripper?”
“Not in the biblical sense. Have you?”
I wait till she turns to look at me.
We lock eyes. Then I say, “Not yet.”
She smiles and looks down. Then says, “Anyway, Dani’s into you, not me.”
“That’s crazy. She’s gay.”
“She only thinks she’s gay. Less than a month ago she was married, remember?”
“Till her husband got killed.”
“Till then,” Callie says.
“Then Sophie showed up.”
“Sophie got lucky.”
“She was there to pick up the pieces when Dani was vulnerable.”
“Is that how it works?” I say.
We’re both quiet a moment.
“This thing between Dani and Sophie,” Callie says.
She pauses, gives me a look.»It’s temporary.”